Like so many silver linings in this Covid summer, the ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas are proving themselves the stars of my September season. Blooming a bit later this year than usual, perhaps they will stay white longer due to the cooling weather. Their color is so truly luscious and perfectly named, fresh and green in summer’s heat.
Height-wise (growing 72″ to 96″ high and wide), they’ve shown themselves to be the perfect divider along the east-facing wall that includes the Orangerie Garden and Green and White Garden.
On the west-facing side they share their grace with the Fountain Garden. The scene when you enter this main garden through the gates is breathtaking, especially with the ‘Sedona’ Coleus in full display. This year, they, too, are more bountiful than ever–fairly bursting out of their (large) stone containers.
We have a little secret that helps us keep the shrubs at about 7′ to 8′ high and tidy looking…two prunings. Our calendar is predicated by the Newport Flower Show weekend the end of June, when all the gardens need to be in readiness. So in mid-May we trim their sides as well as front (so they don’t flop into the path) and they look “contained” come Show time. This also promotes more blooms! Our second prune is in mid-July. Otherwise, we found them likely to throw off new growth at odd angles and become too full.
At some point in the fall, these jewels too quickly start losing their yummy lime shade and turn to parchment with soft tones of shell pink (and then into deeper shades of ruby). I assuage my disappointment by creating arrangements in my LBD (little black dress) of urns. If you squint, it does look like an ice cream cone of sherbert shades. While this doesn’t hold up long as an arrangement, I can always look back on these images…
And so, summer turns into September, our loveliest month of the year in Newport…heralded by the first blooms of my treasured ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas. What is your September favorite?